A series of extracts from one of Philip Dick's essays written in 1977 entitled "If You Find This World Bad, You Should See Some of the Others" :
"Once in a great while, however, [a writer] happens by chance onto a thoroughly stunning idea new to him that he hopes will turn out to be new to everyone else.
"An odd aspect of these rare, extraordinary ideas that puzzles me is their mystifying cloak of - shall I say - the obvious. by that I mean, once the idea has emerged or appeared or been born - however it is that new ideas pass over into being - the novelist says to himself, 'But of course. Why didn't I realize that years ago?' But note the word 'realize.' It is the key word. He has come across something new that at the same time was there, somewhere, all the time. It truth, it simply surfaced. It always WAS. He did not invent it or even find it; in a very real sense it found HIM. And - and this is a little frightening to contemplate - he has not invented it, but on the contrary, it invented HIM. It is as if the idea created him for its purposes. I think this is why we discover a startling phenomenon of great renown: that quite often in history a great new idea strikes a number of researchers or thinkers at exactly the same time, all of them oblivious to their compeers. 'Its time had come,' we say about the idea, and so dismiss, as if we had explained it, something I consider quite important: our recognition that in a certain literal sense ideas are alive.
"What does this mean, to say that an idea or a thought is literally alive? And that it seizes on men here and there and makes use of them to actualize itself into the stream of human history? Perhaps the pre-Socratic philosophers were correct; the cosmos is one vast entity that thinks. It may in fact do nothing BUT think. In that case either what we call the universe is merely a form of disguise that it takes, or it somehow is the universe - some variation on this pantheistic view, my favorite being that it cunningly mimics the world that we experience daily, and we remain none the wiser. This is the view of the oldest religion of India, and to some extent it was the view of Spinoza and Alfred North Whitehead, the concept of an immanent God, God within the universe... The Sufi saying [by Rumi] 'The workman is invisible within the workshop' applies here, with workshop as universe and workman as God. But this still expresses the theistic notion that the universe is something the God created; whereas I am saying, perhaps God created nothing but merely IS. And we spend our lives within him or her or it, wondering constantly where he or she or it can be found.
"But then one day a wicked thought entered my mind... What if there exists a plurality of universes arranged along a sort of lateral axis, which is to say at right angles to the flow of linear time? ...Ten thousand bodies of God arranged like so many suits hanging in some enormous closet, with God either wearing them all at once or going selectively back and forth among them, saying to himself, 'I think today I'll wear the one in which Germany and Japan won World War II' and then adding, half to himself, 'And tomorrow I'll wear that nice one in which Napoleon defeated the British; that's one of my best.'
"We are all accustomed to supposing that all change takes place along the linear time axis: from past to present to future. The present is an accrual of the past and is different from it. The future will accrue from the present on and be different yet. That an orthogonal or right-angle time axis could exist, a lateral domain in which change takes place - processes occurring sideways in reality, so to speak - this is almost impossible to imagine. How would we perceive such lateral changes? What would we experience? What clues - if we are trying to test this bizarre theory - should we be on the alert for?
"Well, let us consider a favorite topic of Christian thinkers: the topic of eternity. This concept, historically speaking, was one great new idea brought by Christianity to the world. We are pretty sure that eternity exists - that the word 'eternity' refers to something actual, in contrast, say, to the word 'angels.' Eternity is simply a state in which you are free from and somehow out of and above time. There is no past, present, and future; there is just pure ontological being. 'Eternity' is not a word denoting merely a very long time; it is essentially timeless. Well, let me ask this: Are there any changes that take place there; i.e., take place outside of time? Because if you say, 'Yes, eternity is not static; things happen,' then I at once smile knowingly and point out that you have introduced time once more. The concept 'time' simply denotes - or rather posits - a condition or state or stream - whatever - in which change occurs. No time, no change. Eternity is static. But if it is static, it is even less than long-enduring; it is more like a geometric point; an infinitude of which can be determined along any given line. Viewing my theory about orthogonal or lateral change, I defend myself by saying, 'At least it is intellectually less nonsensical than the concept of eternity.' And everyone talks about eternity, whether they intend to do anything about it or not.
"We in the field [of science fiction writers], of course, know this idea as the 'alternate universe' theme. ...Let us say, just for fun, that [such alternate universes] DO exist. Then, if they do, how are they linked to each other, if in fact they are (or would be) linked? If you drew a map of them, showing their locations, what would the map look like? For instance (and I think this is a very important question), are they absolutely separate one from another, or do they overlap? Because if they overlap, then such problems as 'Where do they exist?' and 'How do you get from one to the next' admit to a possible solution. I am saying, simply, if they do indeed exist, and if they do indeed overlap, then we may in some literal, very real sense inhabit several of them to various degrees at any given time. And although we all see one another as living humans walking about and talking and acting, some of us may inhabit relatively greater amounts of, say, Universe One than the other people do; and some of us may inhabit relatively greater amounts of Universe Two, Track Two, instead, and so on. It may not merely be that our subjective impressions of the world differ, but there may be an overlapping, a superimposition, of a number of worlds so that objectively, not subjectively, our worlds may differ. Our perceptions differ as a result of this. ...It may be that some of these superimposed worlds are passing out of existence, along the lateral time line I spoke of, and some are in the process of moving toward greater, rather than lesser, actualization. These processes would occur simultaneously and not at all in linear time. The kind of process we are talking about here is a transformation, a kind of metamorphosis, invisibly achieved. But very real. And very important.
"Contemplating this possibility of a lateral arrangement of worlds, a plurality of overlapping Earths along whose linking axis a person can somehow move - can travel in mysterious way from worst to fair to good to excellent - contemplating this in theological terms, perhaps we could say that herewith we suddenly decipher the elliptical utterances that Christ expressed regarding the Kingdom of God, specifically where it is located. 'My Kingdom is not of this world,' he is reported to have said. 'The Kingdom is within you.' Or possibly, 'It is among you.' I put before you now the notion, which I personally find exciting, that he may have had in mind that which I speak of as the lateral axis of overlapping realms that contain among them a spectrum of aspects ranging from the unspeakably malignant to the beautiful. And Christ was saying over and over again that there really are many objective realms, somehow related, and somehow bridgeable by living - not dead- men, and that the most wondrous of these worlds was a just kingdom in which either He himself or God himself or both of them ruled. And he did not merely speak of a variety of ways of subjectively viewing one world; the Kingdom was and is an actual different place, at the opposite end of continua starting with slavery and utter pain. It was his mission to teach his disciples the secret of crossing along the orthogonal path. He did not merely report what lay there; he taught the method of getting there. But, the secret was lost, the Roman authority crushed it. And so we do not have it. But perhaps we can refind it, since we know that such a secret exists.
"This would account for the apparent contradictions regarding the question as to whether the Just Kingdom is ever to be established here on Earth or whether it is a place or state we go to after death. I'm sure I don't have to tell you that this issue has been a fundamental one - and an un-resolved one - throughout the history of Christianity. Christ and St. Paul both seem to say emphatically that an actual breaking through into time, into our world, by the hosts of God, will unexpectedly occur. Thereupon, after some exciting drama, a thousand-year paradise, a rightful Kingdom, will be established - at least for those who have done their homework and chores and generally paid attention... have not Gone To Sleep, as one parable puts it. We are enjoined repeatedly in the new Testament to be vigilant, that for the 'elect' there is always light with which he can see this event when it comes. SEE THIS EVENT. Does that imply that many persons who are somehow asleep or blind or not vigilant - they will NOT see it, even though it occurs? Consider the significance that can be assigned to these notions. The Kingdom will come here, unexpectedly (this is always stressed); the faithful shall see it, because for them, it is always daytime, but for the others... what seems expressed here is the paradoxical but enthralling thought that - and hear this and ponder - the Kingdom, were it established here, would not be visible to those outside it. I offer the idea that, in more modern terms, what is meant is that some of us will travel laterally to that best world and some will not; they will remain stuck along the lateral axis, which means that for them the Kingdom did NOT come, not in their alternate world. And yet meantime, it did come in ours. So it comes and yet does not come. Amazing.
"...If you have followed my conjectures about the overlapping of these alternate worlds, and you sense as I do the possibility that if there are three there may be thirty or three thousand of them - and that some of us live in this one, others of us in another one, others in others, and that events in one track cannot be perceived by persons not in that track.
"I, in my stories and novels, often write about counterfeit worlds, semi-real worlds, as well as deranged private worlds inhabited, often, by just one person, while, meantime, the other characters either remain in their own worlds throughout or are somehow drawn into one of the peculiar ones. ...At no time did I have a theoretical or conscious explanation for my preoccupation with these pluriform pseudoworlds, but now I think I understand. What I was sensing was the manifold or partially actualized realities lying tangent to what evidently is the most actualized one, the one that the majority of us, by consensus gentium, agree on.
"Although originally I presumed that the differences between these worlds was caused entirely by the subjectivity of the various human viewpoints, it did not take me long to open the question as to whether it might not be more than that - that in fact plural realities did exist superimposed onto one another like so many film transparencies. What I still do not grasp, however, is how one reality out of the many becomes actualized in contradistinction to the others. ...Perhaps it hangs on an agreement in viewpoint by a sufficiency of people. More likely the matrix world, the one with the true core of being, is determined by the Programmer. He or it articulates - prints out, so to speak - the matrix choice and fuses it with actual substance. ...This selection and reselection are part of general creativity, of world-building, which seems to be its or his task. A problem, perhaps, which he or it is running, which is to say in the process of solving.
"This problem-solving by means of reprogramming variables along the linear time axis of our universe, thereby generating branched-off lateral worlds - I have the impression that the metaphor of the chessboard is especially useful in evaluating how this all can be - in fact must be. Across from the Programmer-Reprogrammer sits a counterentity, whom Joseph Campbell calls the Dark Counterplayer. ...The Programmer-Reprogrammer is not making his moves of improvement against inert matter; he is dealing with a cunning opponent. Let us say that on the game board - our universe in space-time - the Dark Counterplayer makes a move; he sets up a reality situation. Being the Dark player, the outcome of his desires constitutes what we experience as evil: nongrowth, the power of the lie, death and the decay of forms, the prison of immutable cause and effect. ...The printout which we undergo as historic events, passes through stages of a dialectical interaction, thesis and antithesis, as the forces of the two players mingle. Evidently some syntheses fall to the dark counterplayer.
"...I submit to you that such alterations, the creation or selection of such so-called 'alternate presents' is continually taking place. The very fact that we can conceptually deal with this notion - that is, entertain it as an idea - is a first step in discerning such processes themselves. But I doubt if we will ever be able in any real fashion to demonstrate, to scientifically prove, that such lateral change processes do occur. Probably all we would have to go on would be vestiges of memory, fleeting impressions, dreams, nebulous intuitions that somehow things had been different in some way - and not long ago, but NOW. We might reflexively reach for a light switch in the bathroom only to discover that it was - always had been - in another place entirely. We might reach for the air vent in our car where there was no air vent - a reflex left over from a previous present, still active at a subcortical level. We might dream of people and places we had never seen as vividly as if we had seen them, actually known them. But we would not know what to make of this, assuming we took time to ponder it at all. One very pronounced impression would probably occur to us, to many of us, again and again, and always without explanation: the acute absolute sensation that we had done once before what we were just about to do now, that we so to speak, lived a particular moment or situation previously - but in what sense could it be called 'previously,' since only the present, not the past, was evidently involved? Such an impression is a clue that at some past time point a variable was changed - reprogrammed, as it were - and that, because of this, an alternate world branched off, became actualized instead of the prior one, and that in fact, in literal fact, we are once more living this particular segment of linear time. A breaching, a tinkering, a change had been made, but not in our present - had been made in our past. ...Conceivably this could happen any number of times, affecting any number of people, as alternative variables were reprogrammed. We would have to go live out each reprogramming along the subsequent linear time axis. ...Thus, too, this might account for the sensation people get of having lived past lives. They may well have, but not in the past; previous lives, rather, in the present. In perhaps an unending repeated and repeated present, like a great clock dial in which grand clock hands sweep out the same circumference forever, with all of us carried along unknowingly, yet dimly suspecting.
"Since at the resolution of every encounter of thesis and antithesis between the Dark Counterplayer and the divine Programmer, a new synthesis is struck off, and since it is possible that each time this happens a lateral world may be generated, and since I conceive that each synthesis or resolution is to some degree a victory by the Programmer, each struck-off world, in sequence, must be an improvement upon - not just the prior one - but an improvement over all the latent or merely possible outcomes. It is better, but in no sense perfect - i.e. final. It is merely an improved stage within a process. What I envision clearly is that the Programmer is perpetually using the antecedent universe as a gigantic stockpile for each new synthesis, the antecedent universe then possessing the aspect of chaos or anomie in relation to an emerging new cosmos. Therefore the endless process of sequential struck-off alternate worlds, emerging and being infused with actualization, is negentropic in some way that we cannot see.
"...What blinds us to this hierarchy of evolving form in each new synthesis is that we are unaware of the lesser, unactualized worlds. And this process of interaction, continually forming the new, obliterates at each stage that which came before. What, at any given present instant we possess of the past, is twofold but dubious: we possess external, objective traces of the past embedded in the present, and we possess inner memories. But both are subject to the rule of imperfection, since both are merely bits of reality and not the intact form. This is implied by the very emergence of true newness itself; if truly new, it must somehow kill the old, the 'that which was.' And, especially, 'that which did not come to fully be.'
"...I am saying, 'The entire population of a large country, a continent-sized country, can wake up one morning having entirely forgotten something they all previously knew, and none of them is the wiser. ...If an entire country can overnight forget ONE thing they all know, they can forget other things, more important things; in fact, overwhelmingly important things. I am writing about amnesia on the part of millions of people; of, so to speak, fake memories laid down."
At this point, Mr. Dick speaks of a period in his own life where he "remembered" another reality in which he had just existed - a reality of a "prison." He was unaware of the fact that this was what he was writing about in Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said. Dick says:
"The world of Flow My Tears is an actual (or rather once actual) alternate world, and I remember it in detail. I do not know who else does. Maybe no one else does. perhaps all of you were always - have always been - here. But I was not. In novel after novel, story after story, over a twenty-five year period, I wrote repeatedly about a particular other landscape, a dreadful one. In March 1974, I understood why. ...I had good reason to. My novels and stories were, without my realizing it consciously, autobiographical. It was - this return of memory - the most extraordinary experience of my life. ...You are free to believe me or disbelieve me, but please take my word on it that I am not joking; this is very serious; a matter of importance. I am sure that at the very least you will agree that for me even to claim this is in itself amazing. Often people claim to remember past lives; I claim to remember a different, very different, present life. ...I rather suspect that my experience is not unique; what perhaps is unique is the fact that I am willing to talk about it.
"I would like to share with you something I knew - retrieved - along wiht the blocked-off memories. In March 1974 the reprogrammed variables, tinkered with back at some earlier date, probably in the late forties - in March 1974 the payoff, the results, of at least one and possibly more of the reprogrammed variables lying along the linear time line in our past - set in. What happened between March and August 1974 was the result of at least one reprogrammed variable laid down perhaps thirty years before, setting into motion a thread of change that culminated in what I am sure you will admit was a spectacularly important - and unique - historical event: the forced removal from office of a president of the United States, Richard Nixon, as well as all those associated with him. In the alternate world that I remembered, the civil rights movement, the antiwar movement of the sixties, had failed. And, evidently, in the mid-seventies Nixon was not removed from power. That which opposed him (if indeed anything existed that did or could) was inadequate. Therefore one or more factors tending toward that destruction of the entrenched tyrannical power had retroactively, to us, come to be introduced. The scales, thirty years later, in 1977, got tipped. ...In the future world of "Flow My Tears," the dreadful slave state that exists and evidently has existed for decades, Richard Nixon is remembered as an exalted, heroic leader - referred to, in fact, as the 'Second Only Begotten Son of God.' It is evident from this and many other clues that Flow My Tears deals not with OUR future, but the future of a present world alternate to our own. ...It was dreadful; we overthrew it, just as we overthrew the Nixon tyranny, but it was far more cruel, incredibly so, and there was a great battle and loss of life.
"It was in February 1974 that Flow My tears was finally, after two years delay, published. It was almost as if the release of the novel, which had been delayed so long, meant that in a certain sense it was all right for me to remember. But until then it was better that I did not. ...I have the impression that the memories were not to come to the surface until the material had been published very sincerely on the author's part as what he believed to be fiction. Perhaps, had I known, I would have been too frightened to write the novel. Or perhaps I would have shot my mouth off and somehow interfered with the effectiveness of these several books - whatever effectiveness that might be or was. I do not even claim there was an intended effectiveness; perhaps there was none at all. But if there was one - and I repeat the word 'if' emphatically - it was almost certainly to stir subliminal memories in readers back to dim life - not a conscious life, not an entering consciousness as in my own case, but to recall to them on a deep and profound, albeit unconscious level, what a police tyranny is like, and how vital it is, now or then, at any time, along any track, to defeat it.
"In August, five months later, they proved successful, although these reprogrammings, this intervention in our present, may have been designed more to affect a future continuum rather than our own. As I said at the beginning, ideas seem to have a life of their own; they appear to seize on people and make use of them. The idea that seized me twenty-seven years ago and never let go is this: Any society in which people meddle in other people's business is not a good society, and a state in which the government 'knows more about you than you know about yourself,' is a state that must be overthrown. It may be a theocracy, a fascist corporate state, or reactionally monopolistic capitalism, or centralistic socialism - that aspect does not matter. And I am saying not merely, 'It can happen here,' meaning the United States, but rather, 'It did happen here. I remember. I was one of [those] who fought it and to at least some extent helped overthrow it. And I am very proud of that: proud of myself in Time Track A. But there is, unfortunately, a somber intimation that accompanies my pride as to my work there. I think that in that previous world I did not live past March 1974. I fell victim to a police trap, a net or mesh. However, in THIS one, which I will call Track B, I had better luck. But we fought here in this track a much lighter tyranny, a far stupider one. Or, perhaps, we had assistance: the anterior reprogramming of one or more historic variables came to our rescue. Sometimes I think (and this is, of course, pure speculation, a happy fantasy of my soul) that because of what we accomplished there - or anyhow attempted to, and very bravely - we who were directly involved were allowed to live on here, past the terminal point that brough us down in that other, worse world. It is a sort of miraculous kindness.
"During a short period of time in March of 1974, at the moment in which I was resynthesized, I was aware perceptually - which is to say aware in an external way - of his [the Divine Programmer] presence. At that time I had no idea what I was seeing. It resembled plasmic energy. It had colors. It moved fast, collecting and dispersing. During that short period - a matter of hours or perhaps a day - I was aware of nothing that was not the Programmer. All the things in our pluriform world were segments or subsections of him. Some were at rest but many moved, and did so like portions of a breathing organism that inhaled, exhaled, grew, changed, evolved toward some final state that by its absolute wisdom it had chosen for itself. I mean to say, I experienced it as self-creating, dependent on nothing outside it because very simply there was nothing outside it.
"As I saw this I felt keenly that through all the years of my life I had been literally blind; I remember saying over and over to my wife, 'I've regained my sight! I can see again!' It seemed to me that up until that moment I had been merely guessing as to the nature of the reality around me. I understood that I had not acquired a new faculty of perception but had, rather, regained an old one. For a day or so I saw as we once all had, thousands of years ago. But how had we come to lose sight, this superior eye? The morphology must still be present in us, not only latent; otherwise I could not have reacquired it even briefly. This puzzles me yet. How was it that for forty-six years I did not truly see but only guessed at the nature of the world, and then briefly did see, but soon after, lost that sight and became semi-blind again? The interval in which I actually saw was, evidently, the interval in which the Programmer was reworking me. He had moved forward as palpably sentient and live, as set to ground; he had disclosed himself. Our God is the deus absconditus: the hidden god. But why? Why is it necessary that we be deceived regarding the nature of our reality. Why has he cloaked himself as a plurality or unrelated objects and his movements as a plurality of chance processes? All the changes, all the permutations of reality that we see are expressions of the purposeful growing and unfolding of this single entelechy; it is a plant, a flower, an opening rose. It is a humming hive of bees. It is music, a kind of singing. Obviously I saw the Programmer as he really is, as he really behaves, only because he had seized on me to reshape me, so I say 'I know why I saw him,' but I cannot say, 'I know why I do not see him now, nor why anyone else does not.' Do we collectively dwell in a kind of laser hologram, real creatures in a manufactured quasi-world, a stage set within whose artifacts and creatures a mind moves that is determined to remain unknown?
"A newspaper article about this speech could well be titled: AUTHOR CLAIMS TO HAVE SEEN GOD BUT CAN'T GIVE ACCOUNT OF WHAT HE SAW.
"If I consider the term by which I designate him - the Programmer and Reprogrammer - perhaps I can extract from that a partial answer. I call him what I call him because that was what I witnessed him doing: He had previously programmed the lives here but now was altering one or more crucial factors - this in the service of completing a structure or plan. I reason along these lines: A human scientist who operates a computer does not bias nor warp, does not prejudice, the outcome of his calculations. A human ethnologist does not allow himslef to contaminate his own findings by participating in the culture he studies. Which is to say, in certain kinds of endeavors it is essential that the observer remain occluded off from that which he observes. There is nothing malign in this, no sinister deception. It is merely necessary. if indeed we are, collectively, being moved along desired paths toward a desired outcome, the entity that sets us in motion along those lines, that entity which not only desires the particular outcome but that wills that outcome - he must not enter into it palpably or the outcome will be aborted. What, then, we must return our attention to is - not the Programmer - but the events programmed. Concealed though the form is, the latter will confront us; we are involved in it - in fact, we are instruments by which it is accomplished.
"There is no doubt in my mind as to the larger, historic purpose of the reprogramming that paid off so spectacularly and gloriously in 1974. Currently I am writing a novel about it; the novel is called V.A.L.I.S., the letters standing for 'Vast Active Living Intelligence System."
"...One thing I really want you to know: I am aware that the claims I am making - claims of having retrieved buried memories of an alternate present and to have perceived the agency responsible for arranging that alteration - these claims can neither be proved nor can they even be made to sound rational in the usual sense of the word. It has taken me over three years to reach the point where I am willing to tell anyone but my closest friends about my experience beginning back at the vernal equinox of 1974.
"In February of 1975, I had passed across into a third alternate present - Track C, we shall call it - and this one was a garden or park of peace and beauty, a world superior to ours, rising into existence. I can [thus] talk about three, rather than two worlds: the black iron prison world that had been; our intermediate world in which oppression and war exist but have to a great degree been cast down; and then a third alternate world that someday, when the correct variables in our past have been reprogrammed, will materialize as a superimposition onto this one ... and within which, as we awaken to it, we shall suppose we had always lived there, the memory of this intermediate one, like that of the black iron prison world, eradicated mercifully from our memories.
"The best I can do ...is to play the role of prophet, of ancient prophets and such oracles as the sybyl at Delphi, and to talk of a wonderful garden world, much like that which once our ancestors are said to have inhabited - in fact, I sometimes imagine it to be exactly that same world restored, as if a false trajectory of our world will eventually be fully corrected and once more we will be where once, many thousands of years ago, we lived and were happy. During the brief time I walked about in it I had the strong impression that it was our legitimate home that somehow we had lost. The time I spent there was short - about six hours of real elapsed time. But I remember it well. What was most amazing to me about this parklike world, this Track C, was the non-Christian elements forming the basis of it; it was not what my Christian training had prepared me for at all. Even when it began to phase out I still saw sky; I saw land and dark blue smooth water, and standing by the edge of the water a beautiful nude woman whom I recognized as Aphrodite. At that point this other better world had diminished to a mere landscape beyond a Golden Rectangle doorway; the outline of the doorway pulsed with laserlike light and it all grew smaller and was at last alas gone from sight, the 3:5 doorway devouring itself into nothingness, sealing off what lay beyond. I have not seen it since, but I had the firm impression that this was the next world - not of the Christians - but Arcady of the Greco-Roman pagan world, something older and more beautiful than that which my own religion can conjure up as a lure to keep us in a state of dutiful morality and faith. What I saw was very old and very lovely. Sky, sea, land, and the beautiful woman, and then nothing, for the door had shut and I was closed off back here. It was with a bitter sense of loss that I saw it go - saw her go, really, since it all constellated about her. Aphrodite, I discovered when I looked in my Britannica to see what I could learn about her, was not only the goddess of erotic love and aesthetic beauty but also the embodiment of the generative force of life itself; nor was she originally Greek: in the beginning she had been a Semitic deity, later taken over by the Greeks, who knew a good thing when they saw it. During those treasured hours what I saw in her was a loveliness that our own religion, Christianity, at least by comparison, lacks: an incredible symmetry, the palintonos harmonie that Heraclitus wrote of: the perfect tension and balance of forces within the strung lyre bowed by its stretched strings, but which appears perfectly at rest, perfectly at peace. Yet, the strung lyre is a balanced dynamism, immobile only because the tensions within it are in absolute proportion. ...For a little while I had seen perfect peace, perfect rest, a past we have lost but a past returning to us as if by means of a long-term oscillation, to be available as our future, in which all lost things shall be restored.
"...I believe I know a great secret. When the work of restoration is completed, we will not even remember the tyrannies, the cruel barbarisms of the Earth we inhabited... the vast body of pain and grief and loss and disappointment within us will be expunged as if it had never been. I believe that process is taking place now, has always been taking place now. And, mercifully, we are already being permitted to forget that which formerly was. And perhaps in my novels and stories I have done wrong to urge you to remember." [Dick, edited by Sutin, 1995]